Roman Style Assimilation Adopted by 1900s European Powers

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Modern Imperialism, Dec 6, 2018 at 5:15 AM.

  1. Modern Imperialism Well-Known Member

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    Lets say that the European colonial powers stay strong or not weaken greatly. Maybe the world wars are just avoided somehow. Could they have gradually adopted a less racist out look on foreign holds within their empires. Let's say they take a more Roman or Latinization outlook on colonies. They could even use Roman as example and justification for this. As the 1900s progresses in this world racial supremacy beliefs become less favored and supported like our world but are replaced by a belief in cultural supremacy. I remember reading one book a while go that quoted statements from the mid 1800s about how the British were better because of their culture more so then race. It basically said the British were uncivilized savages before Rome and Christianity civilized them. It stated the British must bring "civilization" to the "uncivilized" and "uplift" them like the Romans did for Europeans. What if this belief becomes the trend? Basically if a African or Asian acts "British", "French", or whatever European culture rules them they should be treated as such. Maybe instead of decolonization in some places we see integration into European society. Maybe Africa experiences a civil rights movement that calls for equality within the empire.

    I see this working the best for France considering their more open belief about nationality and the French identity. Italy could maybe also be more open to it. Just to be clear the empires still don't have to be nice about it. They could choose to enforce it through various measures. This could include a mix of economic, political, and social gains for people in the colonies who choose to adopt the colonizer culture. It could be done by authoritative and oppressive measures. It could also be done by a mix of the previous ones. Reward natives greatly for assimilating while oppressing or even breaking down on the unwilling. Additionally, these measure could vary between colonies. They could be encouraged it in some colonies while not in others. I see more established cultures being harder to force assimilation on. For example, many Muslims and Asians would probably be much harder to convince or force to accept assimilation into European culture then non-Islamic Africans. I feel like non-Islamic Africans do share a lot in common with much of pre-Roman Europe especially regarding society structure and cultural development. In our world the missionaries were successful in making Africans convert to Christianity which is probably the first step to assimilation. Second could European powers destroy most native languages in many areas and make European ones the sole language spoken by the people or at least among most of them? For example Nigerians would only speak English and people in Congo only speak French or Dutch. There would not be 50 languages spoken in one country. The languages can have regional dialects but still the same language as the European rulers. I could see many unwritten or smaller in number languages being wiped out. A common language makes assimilation easier. After that could Europeans make some people in the colonies no matter race look at themselves as the same people or at least connected with the colonizers?
     
  2. markus meecham Marxism-Leninism-Bricksquad thought Kicked Banned

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    It's like trying to make fetch happen

    It won't happen
     
  3. TheKutKu Well-Known Member

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    1) This would take centuries, Romans’ didn’t assimilate their territories in decades

    2) the Roman “assimilation” was bilateral, there was an exchange of cultural elements, I doubt countries like france would accept that
     
  4. Modern Imperialism Well-Known Member

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    Why not? Can you give a good reason? Also it doesn't have to be the whole empire. It can just be some parts.
     
  5. Modern Imperialism Well-Known Member

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    What about the United States who have assimilated people pretty fast and of a variety of different groups? United States shows us a great example of people becoming more accepted when they become "Americanized" enough to be considered acceptable to the general American population. At one time some Italians were not even considered white by some people. Many even considered Irish as not far off from Africans on the social hierarchy at one point. If their standing could change why can't that not happen in other places.
     
  6. jerseyguy Well-Known Member

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    You would basically have to prevent the rise of nationalism to make this happen. Britain ruled Ireland for centuries without getting the Irish to see themselves as English subjects just like any Londoner, and
    You would have to prevent the rise of nationalism, and probably the idea of race as well, to make this work. Traditional monarchs and emperors eventually become identified with one nation (Russian Czar, English Kaiser) or they're no "nation's" monarchy and they have no legitimacy (ex. the Hapsburgs by 1918).

    Most european nations were unwilling to accept an infinitesimally small group of European Jews who were willing to assimilate and drop any other identity than the state they lived in (ex. being a "Hungarian patriot of the mosaic faith"). Why would the European empires be able to assimilate/digest tens of millions of people, when they wouldn't even accept assimilated Jews. There are hundreds of examples of highly decorated Jewish German WW1 veterans and Jews were a higher proportion of the Kaiser's army than of the overall population during the war, but they were still vilified as evil outsiders less than a decade later.

    Britain couldn't sustainably bring a small nation like Ireland into the UK, why would it succeed with hundreds of millions of Indians and Africans would become the new majority of the empire? Czechs and Slovenes have lived under Vienna's rule for at least 500 years, if anyone was going to be assimilated into speaking the imperial language (German, in this case) they would've been the best candidates, but distinctive national identities still emerged there.

    This would take totalitarian social engineering or an overwhelming demographic majority for the imperial center to work. In Paraguay, for example, a dictator banned marriage between people of the same race and produced a homogenous, mestizo Spanish-Guarani population. There are enough Han Chinese for a determined state to demographically overwhelm a minority so the Manchu language is now moribund, and in a few centuries any ethnic "Manchus" will be at least 1/2 to 3/4 Han Chinese, but this is an extreme exception to the rest of the world.
     
  7. Theoretical_TJ Well-Known Member

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    Here's the big difference re: America. America does not have nearly the historical baggage these other powers did, in addition to itself being a nation of immigrants. That helps it more rapidly do the assimilation. And don't forget, America was the pressure release for the "undesirables" of the European nations, so you would need those countries to actually be willing to take on their own dissidents.
     
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  8. John I of Brazil Well-Known Member

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    I think that this would havevto be made in a pre-1900 timeline and in a slow way (example: France trying to culturally assimilate coastal Argel after its annexation , then the countryside, then others). Also, some "scientific" notions of race and ethnicity need to be butterflied.
     
  9. Bad@logic Well-Known Member

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    Roman mentalities and policies were dramatically different than those of our own days, France is often claimed as being an "assimilationist" nation in its colonies, but while the French did do more assimilation than other states, even for them it was only flirting and never really amounted to much as a mass policy. Its influence has been much more marked among elites (and even among them it varied) and as a rhetorical tool than as there ever existing a serious belief about the practicality of making Algeria French or Black Africa assimilated in mass. Fundamentally I doubt the possibility of any successful modern assimilation model working, there are so many structural elements packed against it.

    It is not a comparable example because that is internal assimilation of newly arrived groups. European nations generally did that well too - look at the huge numbers of Italians in France, who are now simply French, or the large number of Eastern Europeans, particularly Polish Or the Irish who emigrated to England. There were substantial Huguenot communities who ended up in Germany, Britain, etc. In time these all integrated.

    In general the assimilation of other Europeans coming as migrant groups into other European-based society has never been particularly difficult. The assimilation of "organic" groups, those tied to the soil and the land, autochtones, has always been a much harder subject. The Ireland example is a quite good one - the British have effectively managed to assimilate the Irish diaspora in the UK, and one hears no polemics about it, despite it being larger than the Polish diaspora (who are of course, more recent arrivals). The British did not manage to assimilate Ireland despite owning it consecutively for centuries. Some European countries did manage to assimilate autochtone communities, France is particularly famous for effective integration, but this was much, much, harder. If we look at the US with its settled communities in need of assimilation, there are the Indians - and US assimilation has not succeeded in making them a seamless part of society, even if they are indisputably American, the most American of all.

    It isn't terribly important, France is an example of a European nation which has had huge numbers of immigrants (look at the number of immigrants in the 1920s and 1930s), and yet these have ultimately become very well integrated into French society. Of course there are much more in the way of controversy over modern immigrants, but these are of course, much more culturally disparate and identifiable, and of course arrived recently - there was plenty of hostility to the older immigrants as well of course.
     
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  10. Theoretical_TJ Well-Known Member

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    And your screenname would be one of the good tests - with the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves staying united - and with real authority. This would allow Portugal to re-emerge as a Great Power after centuries of decline. To do that, you have to uplift and integrate it, but if you do, Portugal suddenly has USA-level resources AND direct access to the European Continent, both north and south, along with having the alliance with Britain. Money, prosperity, and prestige will cover many sins (mixing with the locals) to the European powers.

    The European powers may not like it, but Portugal would have found the Imperial Fountain of Youth, which would be almost as crazy historically as someone surviving septicemia was until 80 years ago. When Empires fade, they don't come back as a rule. So you'd see a much greater chance of embracing the change.
     
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  11. Dorknought Well-Known Member

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    (Official with clipboard) Crucifixion? Line on the left. One cross each...
     
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  12. Bad@logic Well-Known Member

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    No, quite the opposite. Portugal would not have found the "Imperial Fountain of Youth", it would have found a new role as the European outpost of Brazil. Which is the fundamental problem with most of the poorly-thought out schemes for assimilating people, they are seeing the world in a Victoria II or EU IV perspective, instead of the way in which the Portuguese would see it - as them becoming a periphery province of a much larger, more dynamic, and in light of its demographics, accent, and distance, certainly not Portuguese, nation.

    One could see these same concerns during the end of the French Empire, the only one to play around with assimilation ideas, during the 4th Republic, when concerns were voiced about France becoming a colony of its colonies. Its the same reason why the ideas of a "British Imperial Federation" devolve into a glorified Greater India.
     
  13. twistedirregular Negus Negast

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    You could have this happen in Italy's colonial possessions on the Horn of Africa, particularly in Eritrea where a Romanization process is combined with a growing Italian emigre populace that further spreads Italian cultural influences to East Africa - not too sure about Somalia though.
     
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  14. Tanc49 Domitian Truther

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    It is precisely what France was trying to do, and was theorized by Lyautey in "le rôle social de l'officier"
    Hé advocated à roman inspired system of control of the roads, ruthless repression of rebellion and benevolent rule the rest of the time.
    Madagascar was the prime example of this.

    Also to remember, the Roman Empire had centuries to do this, Europe had 70 years
     
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  15. John I of Brazil Well-Known Member

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    The situation of Portugal would be quite better then the others, as Brazil is so close to Portugal culturally that the national census could call brazilians with portuguese ancestry "portuguese" and they would be the ethnic majority of the empire. The british, as you said, couldn't make the same with India and the same can be said of French Africa.
     
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  16. Theoretical_TJ Well-Known Member

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    In that way, it'd have some interesting parallels to the increasingly non-Italian, but thoroughly, Roman Empire as time went on.
     
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  17. Modern Imperialism Well-Known Member

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    Converted Jews for the most part were considered assimilated by the locals. With the exception of the nazis most Europeans only targeted practicing Jews. Also much of Africa is culturally divided with a large number of people who vary in numbers. Much more so then Europe. Many people in Africa lack a nation state identity and also lack a written culture. I could see this making it easier for the Europeans especially given no world wars and more time.
     
  18. John I of Brazil Well-Known Member

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    The fact that the Italian Empire was relatively small size. If Italy could keep a the italian population in the colonies growing (by migration or birth) and assimilate the natives via language teaching, this could happen, but a neutral Italy in WWII is necessary.
     
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  19. twistedirregular Negus Negast

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    Unfortunately, this entails Ethiopia remaining Italian but this is an interesting scenario - what do you think might've happened in Italian East Africa if Fascist Italy remained neutral?
     
  20. xsampa Well-Known Member

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    Parts of empires, like the Four Counties of Senegal were granted legal rights and various regions of the French Empire like Gabon (unsuccessfully) and French Guiana (successfully) wanted to stay, so there's a start.